Well, firstly, because there is a vehement anti-vegetarian sentiment here. Even dishes that look vegetarian have hidden meats and fish which you only discover when you bite into them. And secondly because there is no such thing as a savory café culture, something that I really noticed during my recent visit to London.In Italy coffee is short and strong, meaning that you only need small meals and nibbles to accompany your brew. As a result, most cafes focus on serving you can find croissants, pastries, uninspiring pale sandwiches, pieces of focaccia and pizza on plastic plates or napkins. Compare this to London where every café we ventured into had salads, full roasts, fresh toasted sandwiches – and so many Avocados and eggs- presented bright, ceramic plates and occasional hipster flair.
Of course, if your customer will not sit down for breakfast (or brunch), there is no point in preparing this. But as I so often chose these breakfast options for lunch, I couldn’t help feel that there is a gap in the Torino market.
Maybe I just like multicoloured food, but that observation was just the beginning of the list of things that pleased me in London. I think most importantly, I just appreciate the sheer number of options in London. The diversity of the food is stunning, and the depth of flavours from spices is richer. While the Italians focus on quality products providing taste, they are unfamiliar with the wealth of undiscovered spices in curries, tex-mex and Asian cuisines. Any imitations of the cuisines are disappointingly scaled back, or as my Malaysian friend says a bit wistfully: “good enough”. I am tired of good enough. I want to be inspired.
Aside from the amazing food, my visit to see my sister was immensely relaxing. After a long walk through Hampstead Heath, photos with the fading rhododendrons, and time spent gazing over the London skyline, we walked along the highstreet, stared into shop windows, and enjoyed a film viewing (in English!). We had slow mornings, long talks, and a brisk climb with my lovely London-based friends. A short holiday could not have been better.